Christmas and New Year are over and it’s time to get back to normality for many of us. Oh god.
I don’t usually set New Year’s resolutions because I know what I’m like and I never stick with them. Plus I’m usually stuck in some kind of chocolate haze at the end of the year. For some reason, I feel a bit differently this year and want to put some plans into place to build a solid, productive start to 2020.
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Fiction Writers
In this post, I’ll be sharing some ideas for New Year’s resolutions for fiction writers which I think will help you build a more productive 2020. I’ve also listed my own fiction writing resolutions at the end of this post. I have some others related to my business, but you don’t need to know about them.
1. Schedule a time for fiction writing
Do you plan to write a chapter after work all the time but realise you’re way too tired by the time you’ve finished work? I always resented having a full-time job which takes away your best energy, time and motivation of the day.
It’s easier now I work for myself and from home, but that doesn’t mean I get to write chapters all day. I still need to schedule time to write the things I actually enjoy. I need to work and earn money still.
This schedule will look different for everyone. Some people may be able to write after work. I know I probably won’t, or at least I can’t guarantee I’ll do it regularly. What if I have a bad day at work? If I’m in a mood, and this is often, then the last thing I want to do is rewrite a chapter.
For me, what works best is writing first thing in the morning. Yes, I’m half asleep and I don’t always find it easy but it’s the best time of the day to do it. This is before all my real-life responsibilities matter. I’ll wake up at 6 am, play with my dog for a bit and then settle down to write something. It doesn’t always work, but it’s my best chance of making a dent in my novel.
What you need to do is find the best time to write for you. What time of day are you most creative/least stressed? When can you realistically fit in time? Is it after the kids go to bed or before any of the family wake up?
Write a reading list for 2020
I have fallen into a reading dry spell. I don’t know why this happens but sometimes I will read every day and other times I don’t read anything for weeks. I love reading and it’s so incredibly important to read regularly for writers (or anyone really).
This year I’m going to put together a list of books I want to get through in 2020. I might not make it to the end but I think it’ll be really helpful to have the next one lined up once I finish one book.
One amazing gift I got for Christmas this year was a Book Lover’s Journal. It’ll be a great little reading companion where I can note down all my thoughts about the books I’m reading and also make plans for my next book to read. I’d definitely recommend checking it out, you can find the one I’ve got on Amazon here.
Get a writing journal
I’d recommend a journal for anyone. It’s a great way to articulate your own thoughts and work through issues/events in a non-judgemental zone.
For fiction writers particularly, a separate journal where you gather all your thoughts and play around with new ideas for your stories is a great idea. When I want to work through a story problem, I write out the situation or plot point I’m considering and then several different outcomes to it.
This is helpful because you can articulate your reasoning for certain plot points and it also highlights when things don’t quite make sense. It’s best to find this out now before you write a big plot point into your actual story and struggle to find a way out of it.
Start marketing in some way
Some writers don’t do anything remotely marketing-based. It’s understandable when all you want to do is tell stories. However, marketing is important if you want people to read them.
If you think there’s no point getting your name out there because you’re not published (yet), think again. Marketing yourself will only help your chances of getting published and eventually selling your books to people.
Get out there on social media and interact with other writers and readers. Perhaps start a blog or at least build a website with contact details and some information about you. This is just the starting point. You might want to get into email marketing, Facebook adverts or attend networking events later on.
Get some feedback
If you’ve never had feedback on your writing before, the thought of actually getting some is terrifying. Sadly, it’s still terrifying even when you’ve had a room full of people tell you what they hated about your story. It doesn’t usually get any easier.
However, feedback is absolutely crucial to developing as a writer. You need to know what your bad habits are and the chances are you won’t pick up on them all yourself. You also need to know what you’re good at and get a feel for who your target audience is.
Try to make this year the year where you start getting some feedback from readers (not just from your mum, she’s legally obliged to say it’s good). You might want to approach beta readers or join a writing group where you all share work and feedback. Wherever you get it from, make sure you get some. The sooner you get used to it, the better.
Blog once a week at least
I struggle with consistency with blogging for a number of reasons but I’m serious about building this website. I plan to continue exploring world-building topics and fiction in general. This year I also want to experiment with reviews (I’ve always been nervous about voicing my opinion on stuff). I want to start analysing works of fantasy fiction and looking at how they’ve built their worlds in different ways.
Try to write fiction five days a week or more
I’m aiming to write fiction at least every working day. It’d be nice if I could write every day of course, but I’m trying to be realistic so as not to set myself up for disappointment.
I think the whole “you MUST write every day or you’re not a real writer” thing is really tiring. Not everyone can. People have busy families, poor mental health, illnesses, tragedies and so on. If you can write every day, that’s amazing but if you can’t, you don’t need to feel guilty about that.
Get back to a regular reading routine
As I’ve said above, I really need to get back to reading because I’ve taken a big, unplanned break from it. I don’t know if you can get reader’s block, but I seem to have it right now and it needs to change.
Finish the MF novel and stick with my story
This novel series has been a working progress for quite some time now. The main reason for this, other than writer’s block is that I can’t seem to decide on how I want the story to go. I keep adding new things, changing massive things and cutting other bits. It needs to stop. I want to get a final first draft done this year so I can start approaching beta readers. Please wish me luck, because I really need it.
I hope these New Year’s resolutions for fiction writers have helped spark some ideas. I’d love to know what New Year’s resolutions and plans you’ve got for 2020. Are you focusing on finishing your book, marketing yourself or building a blog? Let me know in the comments.